I was speaking in Boston last weekend and something struck me, normally when I travel I go off the deep end and overindulge in tasty food while I simultaneously stop exercising.  In other words, I give up on my goals and give in to temptations. This has been my modus operandi for as long as I’ve been traveling. Usually I justify it with things like, it’s only a weekend or this is WAY too tasty to resist.  While those are not unreasonable statements, what often happens is that the small one or two day indulgences turn into weeks of setbacks. I simply allow myself to go backwards ten steps because I don’t have a solid plan to begin with.

JFK This trip was different for me. I knew that the chances were good that I’d give in and I really didn’t want to.  I recently got the opportunity to start working with David Kingsbury, the personal trainer who trained Hugh Jackman for the movie Wolverine, so it was important to me to stay focused and follow his plan.  It’s not every day that I have the opportunity to work with someone of his caliber. Maybe that would be the motivation I needed to stick to it!

I went into the weekend ready to work out and eat well.  When I wasn’t hanging out with John F Kennedy (Okay just kidding but this walk of famous Bostonians was pretty cool) I was working out the gym.  I did well, at least for the first two days…then came Saturday.
Ry Exercise
Saturday was crammed with activities and preparation for speaking; I simply fell off my routine.  Couple this with being treated to an amazing dinner and I lost focus.  I’m certainly not saying that was a bad thing. I never advocate that anyone is 100% strict all the time.  The bad thing (in my opinion) is what followed…..

Following my speaking engagement I was tired and worn down. And you know what?  I didn’t work out.  Okay so again that may be okay since I was tired after all right? The problem is that I also didn’t eat well.  I completely fell off my ‘plan’ because I was frustrated and angry about not sticking with it over the weekend.

In essence I fell into a Spin Cycle.

The brain does that quite easily. We tend to move towards our ‘comfort zones’ even if they aren’t that comfortable. Over the years (because of not-so-great behaviors) I have trained my brain to equate a setback (when it comes to fitness anyway) as the end of my program.  And it usually takes a lot of work to get back to it. In my past it would mean weeks of things like ice cream and television.

The good news, I have been working on my own resilience and through practice I have been able to successfully create new neuroconnections that make it easier for me to move forward rather than get stuck.  Now, I am able to recognize this both as a setback and a learning opportunity.  Within a few days of returning from Boston I was back to following the plan of healthy eating and working out.

Okay so why do you care?

It doesn’t matter where you’re stuck, building resilience can help you too.  Maybe you’re struggling with your fitness, or maybe you are trying to influence your team and you’re not quite sure how to do it. Maybe you feel your boss doesn’t understand you, or maybe you have a project that you’ve been procrastinating on.  Whatever it is, you may be stuck in old behaviors and old thought patterns that could be keeping you in your “comfort zone.”   The trick is to step outside it, question it, and then rewrite your story. This builds resilience so that setbacks become opportunities.

Where do you go from here?

One practice that I believe helps a lot in situations such as these (and one I often use myself) is something I call re-grounding.

Get out a piece of paper and answer the following:

  • What is it I really want?   I want to be consistent with my workouts and eating well
  • What got in my way?   My trip to Boston- When the routine changed it made it hard for me to stay consistent.
  • What did I learn from this?  Prior to traveling I need to evaluate the schedule and plan so that I’m better prepared to make my goals a priority.
  • What else did I learn? When I miss a workout, I tend to not eat well.  They are somehow connected for me.
  • What else did I learn? If I miss a snack or don’t eat regularly I get super hungry and am more likely to eat things that are “off plan”
  • What can I do differently now? Make sure I have time to plan and organize. When traveling have a solid workout plan and make it a priority.  If I am too tired to workout I need to realize I will be susceptible to not eating great.  Have healthy snacks available to keep my blood sugar regulated.
  • What are three things that worked? I went to the gym most of the time.  I ate well on all but one day. I nailed my speech!

By writing things down in this way you are able to start to see that things aren’t necessarily as bad as you think they are.  Additionally you start to see what you are learning and figure out how to apply that learning to future states.  This exercise can really help to re-train your brain towards getting the results you’re looking for!

We all get stuck. It’s part of how we are wired.  The trick here is to learn to get unstuck quickly so that you continue to move forward.

Thanks for reading.  If you have a moment, please drop me an email and let me know where YOU are stuck.  I’d love to hear your story!

Make it a great day-
Ryan